‘Toledo was a wakeup call’: Dean announces new water quality initiative

Bruce McPheron, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration, while speaking Sept. 16 at the Farm Science Review trade show, announced the creation of a new wide-ranging water quality initiative, called Field to Faucet.

“Toledo was a wakeup call,” said McPheron, dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, of which OARDC is the research arm.

“Just over a month ago, the city of Toledo awoke to the news that parents could not draw water from their taps for their children. Restaurants were shuttered, parks were closed, citizens wondered whether to eat food washed in tap water and whether to shower.”

McPheron pulled together a university-wide group to address the source of the problem and to ensure clean drinking water across Ohio.

Video: CFAES Communications.

“Ohio State University, with its comprehensive capacity, is well positioned to lead the way in providing answers,” he said. “But we don’t feel tackling this alone is sufficient, and it’s clear there are other pockets of excellence. We’re putting in $1 million to get the effort off the ground, and we’ll continue to look for partnerships to leverage that.”

“Ohio State is well positioned to lead the way in providing answers. But we don’t feel tackling this alone is sufficient.”—Bruce McPheron

Ensuring clean water, sustainable food systems

  • In early August, toxins produced by a harmful algal bloom in western Lake Erie caused a two-day drinking water ban in Toledo. Toledo draws its drinking water from the lake.
  • Experts say soluble phosphorus runoff from farms is a cause of such blooms, which have plagued Lake Erie and other lakes in recent years.
  • To contact the source: Bruce McPheron at mcpheron.24@osu.edu.

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